So yesterday I was glad for the opportunity to tag along with The Beat Within on a trip to San Francisco's Juvenile Justice Center.
What is The Beat Within? It's a an organization that helps incarcerated youth find hope through writing. Every week, facilitators go into youth detention facilities all over the Bay Area, where the group began, and now throughout California, Washington, D.C., Arizona and Miami. In guided writing workshops, the youth get a chance to reflect on their lives and express themselves in healthy ways. Their pieces are then printed in a publication that reaches folks from all over. And suddenly, these young people, who often feel as if nobody in the world listens to or cares about what they have to say, discover that each of them has a voice.
It's a powerful process, and I was glad to play a small part in it yesterday. Listening to everyone from the girl who couldn't wait to escape the uniforms and feel feminine again to the boy who would give anything for his parents' forgiveness to the detention center employees who expressed their thanks for this important work gave me a glimpse of what The Beat means, to so many people.
I'll stop rambling about it though, and let you watch this video, "The Story of The Beat Within," by Kayla Hilton of San Francisco State University. But you should know that they're seeking volunteers for typing, editing, fundraising and facilitating. So if these stories inspire you to be a part of The Beat Within, contact Inga Buchbinder at firstname.lastname@example.org
And check back here for more from me about these experiences, as well as an interview with founder David Inocencio.